Jeremy Ellwood heads back to Thorpeness Golf Club and Hotel in Suffolk to stay at the popular hotel and play the excellent James Braid course
Thorpeness Golf Club and Hotel
Par 70, 6,311 yards
This fine James Braid heathland course in Suffolk weaves through gorse, heather, pines and birch over easy-walking terrain. The opener is gentle, but from the sweeping dogleg 3rd you’ll encounter a string of tough par 4s before dropping down on the par-3 7th and crossing the road. The middle part of the green on the 7th is precariously narrow, and with water lurking short-right, precision and care are required.
There are some splendid holes over the road, including two par 5s on the 9th and 14th that bring hope of a birdie or two before the run for home. The 10th and 11th at the far end play in opposite directions, one a tough par 3 if the wind is against, and the other an eminently reachable par 4 with the wind at your back.
A sharp dogleg left and testing long par 3 complete the challenge on this side of the road before you cross back for the final duo – a potentially drivable uphill par 4 and a longer one playing towards the famous House in the Clouds.
The over-riding feeling at Thorpeness Golf Club and Hotel is that this is very much a proper golfer’s hotel. There is a real sense in Braid’s Bar and Ogilvie’s Restaurant that golf lies at the very heart of this place, with all the club’s honours boards proudly on display in the former, and the latter recently refurbished to a high standard.
Ogilvie’s sits right beside the 3rd tee, so over dinner you can watch evening golfers do battle as the course begins to bare its teeth.
The rooms are comfortable and well-equipped and, to broaden the appeal of Thorpeness, Jiggers mini-golf has recently been created by The Meare, complete with miniature House in the Clouds.
Add in the delights of the unique village of Thorpeness and its unusual buildings, created by Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie early in the 20th century, plus the picture-postcard town of Aldeburgh with its Top 100 course just down the coast, and this really is the perfect spot for a golfing getaway.